The undisputed class act that is Zinedine Zidane will go down in football history as one of the greatest. Exceptional touch and skill, mixed with an eye for a pass only a handful are able to see - the frenchman had everything.
An Illustrious career, having won every major trophy on offer, Zidane was bowing out of the game at the end of the 2006 world cup in Germany. Leading a somewhat ageing France team into the tournament, very few fancied them as major contenders for football's biggest prize - however, a Zidane inspired run in the tournament revitalised hopes that this could be a famous last bow for one of the Games most decorated talents. Having defeated the much preffered Brazilians and Portuguese en route to the final in Berlin, the french were suddenly one win away from reclaiming the world cup.
Up against the Italians, who also exceeded expectations, it was a tight and cagey final with little cutting edge that would seperate either nation. A Zidane penalty that clipped the bar and bounced over the line gave the French a perfect start - yet, the plucky Italians equalised to ensure extra time.
A tense half an hour was on the cards but with Zidane on the team sheet, France had an asset that was able to be the difference. Zidane was the one player who, on his day could win the world cup on a moment of brilliance.
Suddenly, an altercation ensues. The watching thousands in the stadium and at home have little or no idea what has just happened. The camera man, TV producer, pundits, linesman, referee and even players have no idea what has just happened. Only two people, know.
Marco Materazzi, the Italian Centre Back is on the ground, clutching his face - surrounded by only one other player - Zinedine Zidane. TV replays show a coversation between Materazzi and Zizou and as Zidane jogs off he rapidly turns round to face the Italy player and unleashes a ferocious head butt into the chest of the opposition player. Millions and millions of people have just witnessed something so bizarre, almost unreal. Within a minute, Zidane is trudging off the pitch, past the world cup trophy which is not even looked at - his career is over, just like that.
France lose on penalties. No one will really know what was said, what was going through the iconic french legends head or what could've been.